Monday, January 31, 2011

Where's Cara?

Okay, it doesn't have the same ring as "Where's Waldo?" but I'm tapped out. I'm thinking that satan must've been reading my last blog post. If I remember correctly it was about how blessed and happy I am as my life as wife and mommy!? And I guess that made me more of a target to him than wearing a red striped shirt and stocking cap and glasses.


I had planned for this past weekend-January 29th and 30th: Haley's 4th Birthday party. And Sunday the Grand Opening for my new business (Signature Homestyles! You should check it out! But if you want to buy something be sure to contact ME, don't buy it through the website!) at my house. That means a party/show with lots of ladies here to look at some awesome home decor and organization products AT MY HOUSE. And my hubby was going to take all 4 kids to a park or somewhere to take away all distraction...

Huge weekend for our family, right? Last Tuesday I took the baby to the dr. Why? He had croup the night before. We treated him at home but I wanted the doctor to check his breathing. Good thinking, right? Except it wasn't. Because his breathing was fine but 36 hours later he began vomiting alllllll over his sleepy mama in the middle of the night. Sound like a perfect incubation period to you? I think so. He got it from the petri dish pediatrician's (sound suspiciously similar??) office. So, he's got the sniffles/congestion which led to the croup and vomiting and diarrhea to go with it. Yay.

Meanwhile, he got the sniffles from his loving, giving sister Haley. Haley, like Nathan, likes to put things in her mouth. Her fingers, whatever. I kept telling her "Haley, you're going to be sick for your birthday party" "No I'm not" she insisted. Well, I was right. But I took no pleasure in being right. Trust me. Friday, yes, the day before her birthday party, she was acting kind of "off" but we kind of went on with our day (with a few extra preparations-extra clothes and a towel). Well, we're about 25 minutes away from home, in the middle of traffic and she starts throwing up in the car. Yep. And poor Lindsay was trying to "help" her but she can't stomach that (most kids can't I'm sure, it's a special ability most mothers pick up on the way out of the hospital with their adorable little cherub). Now, I"m slightly panicked because what am I going to do? Cancel both events? I can't cancel my Grand Opening! How flaky would that seem? To cancel my first business related "thing"?? And her birthday!? I don't even have numbers for everyone!

So, I waited. To see what would happen. She seemed to be basically over it by 4:30 in the morning on Saturday but then as we kept hoping for the best...she just was still puny. So, I managed to get ahold of most people and we moved it to Sunday-after my show! Perfect, right?

She started being punier again on Sunday morning (enough that she stayed home from church with her daddy). So, here I go again, canceling her party (this time for sometime in February as we have a HUGE vacation coming up...more on that later. I think I'll make you wait til it's over!)

And they couldn't leave for my show. Dh was having "issues", Haley was acting weird and sicky and Nathan was still not 100%. So, they were to lock themselves in my bedroom. But Jared came out to let me know that Haley had thrown up again. Yay. (I'm sure my guests were glad to know it too if they caught on). I was so relieved I had already canceled her party.

I forgot to even mention that I was feeling sooooo bad Saturday evening. And I still stayed up to decorate her cake for her party! Hindsight being what it is and all, I wouldn't have done THAT!

I think everyone is on the mend now and we can get ready for our vacation. Hopefully things will look up and I can visit blogworld before then--but I'm still going to make you wait! :)

Can you see why I've been mia??? It's been tough. Stressful. But we survived it-I think.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Leaving Your Mark

We happen to live in a smaller town (kind of a satellite in relation to the larger town nearby...) so we don't see as much of this kind of thing as said larger town. It's around, but not prevalent. However, that bigger city/town/whatever has a real problem with it.

Graffiti.--this is not my picture. I found it online. I decided it wouldn't be smart to stop in the middle of the road and snap pictures.

It's everywhere. On stores, street signs, private fences, the entrances to nice new neighborhoods. Everywhere. And it looks terrible. And it's so stupid. Why? Why would you want to mark your territory like an animal? That's what it is. And you get nothing from it really. I get if someone is hungry and steals something to eat. I do. Even if someone steals something just because they want it. It's totally not acceptable, it's wrong, but you get it! There's a PAYOFF. But what is the payoff with destroying property just for the heck of it? For making the town you live in look trashy. For ruining property that people paid for. That people work for and work to take care of.
And usually it's nothing that makes any sense to most of us. So, you're not even really making a statement if you do that.
In the old days (ok, I only think I know this because it's in songs...I wasn't really there, nor do I have any proof it happened) graffiti meant defacing the bridge or the water tower to declare your love for your girlfriend. That even makes a little bit of sense. The purpose? To prove you love the person! Even though I'm sure by the time some of the boys that did it climbed down, the romance was almost over....

I just wish those people who commit this crime would realize that it makes our city look awful. And that it really ruins a person's day if it's his or her property. Oh. And if you have talent? GET A J-O-B as an artist.

Monday, January 17, 2011


Here I go again. I typed out this really profound blog. Really it was. Not to toot my own horn or anything. But then I found out that my hubby had signed into his google account...thereby signing me out. But it looked like I was signed in. So, my post was....LOST! I will try again. I don't think it'll be the same. But hopefully it will make you think and the end result will be the same. That you'll count your blessings.

Something that makes me incredibly sad is when parents don't appreciate their children. Sure, I'm guilty of the same thing. Probably ten times today alone. But, they are blessings. Every single one of them. We jumped through a few hoops just to get them (okay, except for Nathan...he was our little surprise...but no less loved and wanted).
Some of this attitude comes from our own selfish desires and agendas. We have plans and woe to anyone or anything that gets in our way. But much of it comes from society's view of children. That they are inconveniences. Burdens. Projects that you have to complete. When I am out and about with my children during a "school day" (when kids are typically in school) I often get these kinds of comments: "I could never...[insert "be with my kids all day", "educate my kids", "give up my days", etc]. Comments that make me out to be a martyr. And while it would be nice to occasionally grocery shop alone, I LIKE having my kids with me. I had them because I want them around. I'm not saying that everyone should homeschool Definitely not saying that. If it's not for you, that's fine. Every family has to make their own decisions based on what is right for the ENTIRE family. But your kids will know if you want to be with them. They'll know if you consider them to be blessings. Or if you consider them to be burdens.
Lately I keep thinking what could be worse than the trials of motherhood:
  • a baby that doesn't sleep through the night
  • a pre-schooler that doesn't sleep through the night
  • all of your tape being used up-on a folded up piece of blank paper
  • your lipstick being gouged, smooshed and suddenly GONE!
  • all of your money going to sports and extra-curricular stuff-and when I say all...I really mean it.
  • screeching kids-sometimes I think my eardrums are bleeding
  • feeling like if you hear "mommy..." one more time you'll move to Yemen-with no forwarding address
  • a spare tire around your middle and no time to exercise it away. 
  • dishes out the wazoo. where do they all come from?
  • washing clothes that WEREN'T EVEN DIRTY!
  • stepping on legos. Ouch. 
  • furniture that belongs at the salvation army.
  • a "tween" talking back to you (but you do correct her. you must!)
  • never finishing anything. truly. 
Here's what would be worse:
  • lots of beauty rest. empty arms in the night.
  • never being given the empty paper taped up with all of your tape as a "present"
  • no pictures of the offender with said lipstick all over her face
  • no baseball or soccer games to watch. no kids to congratulate on their awesome play or console over their missed goal
  • silence. as a parent silence is golden. but only because it's rare. when there's too loses value
  • never being called mommy. 
  • no spare tire. no stretch marks. plenty of time to exercise. but no one to chase.
  • no family to feed (or conversely-no food to feed your family)
  • no grass stained baseball pants. no spaghetti stained t-shirts.
  • no lego creations that must be given sufficient "oohs and aaaahs"
  • furniture suitable for a better homes and garden photo shoot
  • no daughter to be your best friend when she grows up and appreciates the corrections
  • everything finished. and nothing to do.
I think this has weighed so heavily on my heart lately because I recently heard about a mother's loss. A loss so sad and tragic. Her child was only a toddler. And you can feel the pain in her written words. Even though he wasn't her only child (by far!) he was so obviously loved and cherished.  And I often find myself complaining (in my head or sometimes to friends) or grumping at the kids for these inconveniences. When really they aren't. Sure, homeschooling my children is a hard job. Even moreso now that I have two little ones. It's chaotic.But it's the life I was meant for. The life I chose. And still choose every day.

When I was pregnant with Haley (my 3rd) and a little frightened of the changes a third child would bring to my (fairly orderly) household, I was told by several "moms of many" that the third child was the hardest to adjust to. After that it really didn't matter. (That didn't bring me much comfort by the way!) Well, after Nathan came (and I chanted that bit of "wisdom" to myself daily while pregnant with him-my fourth) I found out that it's not so much the truth. Four is more than three. Therefore, four is harder than three. I am still only one.
But, harder than raising four children?? Imagining my life without any ONE of them in it.  Imagining that the fertility treatments didn't work. Or that I were to lose one of my children.....

So, if you see me in the grocery store with all four of my children (because that's usually how it works) don't feel sorry for me. Don't feed the idea that moms are to be pitied if they have their children with them. Don't be fooled by those gray hairs and the wild look in my eyes...I'm blessed!

Friday, January 7, 2011

Some Thoughts on Breastfeeding

Let me preface this by saying: if you fed/feed your baby formula I do NOT think your baby is not smart. Nor do I think that you are wrong/lazy/stupid/failure....blah blah blah! This is one of those issues that divides mamas so thoroughly when we should be supporting each other and realizing: "different strokes..."

Now. That said, so that I don't hurt any feelings. ;) I have truly loved nursing all 4 of my babies. I was putting Nathan to bed tonight and watched him nursing and a bittersweet feeling gripped my heart. He is most likely my last baby (which I'm okay with). This is the last time I will nurse a baby. Grandbabies are a treasure I'm sure and I will truly enjoy being a grandma (in about 15 years ;) ) but there is nothing like holding your own baby. The moment the doctor placed my babies on my tummy and then shortly thereafter I placed them to my breast. **melting heart**

I have been so very blessed to have an easy time with nursing. I have had very little trouble (I really, truly think that God saw my infertility struggles and knew that I neeeeeded my body to do something that it was "supposed" to do naturally and without help so that I could have some faith in it--kind of falls under "God won't give you more than you can handle") and I'm sad to see this part of my life winding down. My baby is 13 months old and eating food like a champ. I will have to start the weaning process soon (I'm still doing it on demand pretty much at this point-so by cutting down I'm not talking stopping yet)

After a total of about 5 1/2 years of nursing (woah!) here are some tips:

nurse your baby on demand-the baby knows how to increase your supply when needed. I've known so many women who swear by scheduling but then they complain that their milk supply drops and they have to stop nursing or supplement. I spent some time as a pacifier. Do I regret that? NO! Because it's not forever. And you need to sit down just as often as your baby needs to eat-for healing. I often think of how "easy" it would be if someone else could feed the baby in the early days so I could get something done...but usually I needed that time to sit and relax. Grab a book and keep it handy. Or watch your favorite show that you have recorded...or just look at your baby!

sleep with your baby if you feel safe doing so. It's really a great thing-even if you don't breastfeed! They're only little that one time! And the one I chose to sleep with (Nathan) is not a bad sleeper. The one I tried to make sleep in her own bed...notsomuch. So, I think that's more about temperament.

don't worry about losing your weight. It's a year. And it will come off. I'm really working at it now, but I don't have to worry about my supply at this what if you're a little fluffy while your baby is little? It makes you softer for your baby to lay on. There will be plenty of time to count calories and work out like a fiend. Walk when you can, eat what you need and enjoy!

trust your body. I know there are some women whose bodies don't make the milk their baby needs. But, it's not that common. If you allow your baby to nurse on demand and don't give him or her anything else, most likely your body will do it's job. Count your wet and dirty diapers, go for the weight checks. Your breasts will feel fuller at times than others-when they don't feel full that doesn't necessarily mean that there's no milk. Leave the formula alone (unless you realize that once you begin to introduce formula on a regular basis you will probably need it and that's okay with you...).

be calm. If you are calm your baby will be calmer. And your milk will come in and let down easier.

nurse where you feel comfortable doing so. I'm one that feels very comfortable nursing in public. I rarely use a blanket (the baby hates it usually and tries to flail it off-which just draws more attention) and most people don't realize I'm nursing unless I draw attention to it. You can be discreet. It's about feeding your baby, not flaunting your "parts". And if you don't feel comfortable doing it in public? Don't! There are nursing lounges and dressing rooms in so many places. I have also used my car if I know it's a safe area to sit in my car. My older kids? They don't even bat an eye. (I have known some that are anxious about how their older kids will react to seeing their mother's breast-but I think if you make it very casual/nonchalant...they will see it that way too!) In fact, Lindsay and Haley have both nursed their babies! I *heart* that!

and most of all: DON'T GIVE UP. Talk to a lactation consultant-even if they charge, it's cheaper than formula. If it's important to you...keep at it!  And if it doesn't work out for you? If you're one of that .9% (or whatever) of women who can't do it?? Or if you really hate the idea and don't want to nurse-never have? Give your baby the bottle and know that you love him or her just as much and he or she will be FINE! I know so many babies that are healthier and happier than anything...and they were *gasp* formula fed! My mom didn't nurse...and my twitch is barely noticeable! (Just kidding!)

P.S. I do have some dear friends who were unable-despite every effort (beer drinking, oatmeal eating, fenugreek taking, mother's cookies name it, they tried it!) and my kudos go out to them! I don't know that I would have had the tenacity to keep at all that at a time when you are tired and worn down anyway! You deserve a HUGE pat on the back!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Need Answers?

I was thinking the other day that I wish this blog had lots of answers. I feel like I come here and blab about all the things I don't might be to the point of thinking, "what is this person doing writing...she knows nothing?" On the contrary! I know that I don't know everything.
This is part of being a mom four times over. I now know how little I know.
This past Sunday I was asked to stay and help out in the nursery and while I was in there a mom of a 5 month old came in. Her only baby. She's a sweet first time mom. With lots of answers. Everything that was discussed (it was myself and a lady that is a mom and grandma) she had the answer for. Thing is, I did too. When I only had one child.
Even when I had 2 children. I knew almost everything. You could've asked me and I'd have told you how much I knew. Discipline problems? Well, sure. Got a minute? Eating issues? Pull up a chair! Sleeping trouble? Wee-hellllll, let me tell you what I know! Then...
I ate a large. No, we're talking HUGE piece of humble pie. Her name is Haley. She taught me some things. (Or rather God taught me through her.)
Now...Discipline problems? don't come to me! Have you seen my children? Eating issues? I sure as heck don't know. Sleeping trouble? Look at the bags under my eyes and see if you think I'm the one to ask.
When the new mommy left the nursery with her precious baby...I just smiled. One day she will eat humble pie. We all do!

By the way, I do still offer advice sometimes. I can tell you what works/worked for us at different times and what didn't work. It's offered in a manner that is much less "commanding" and more timid. I don't tell people what to do. But I know this to be true: every child is so different. Each one created uniquely. And he or she doesn't have a manual because there is no manufacturer assembly line. God created each one special-you know, like the handmade items that say each one is unique and any difference is not a defect?-and so each one has to be handled differently-but all with love, firmness and tenderness. I'm still working on the firmness and tenderness-looking for that good mix of the two. The love? Got that one down. Now, I'm going to bed before my almost 4 year old wakes for her 1st time and I have to try go get her back into her own bed.

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